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Police ID person of interest in airport 'explosive device'

Authorities have identified the person of interest in the explosive device placed at Asheville Regional Airport on Friday as Michael Christopher Estes, 46. (Photo credit: Asheville Police Department)

UPDATE: Michael Christopher Estes has been detained by police, the FBI said in a statement Saturday.

UPDATE: 10:37 p.m.: Authorities have identified the person of interest in the explosive device placed at Asheville Regional Airport on Friday. He has been identified as Michael Christopher Estes, 46. Estes is described as a white male with brown hair and brown eyes. He is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs about 200 pounds. He has multiple tattoos on his arms and wrists.

Anyone with information regarding Estes' whereabouts is asked to call 911 or CrimeStoppers at 828-255-5050. If you see Estes, please do not approach him and contact 9-1-1 immediately.

The Asheville Police Department, FBI, State Bureau of Investigation and Asheville Regional Airport Police Department are investigating the incident.


UPDATE: 3:53 p.m.: The Asheville Police Department is asking for the public's help in locating a person of interest in the explosive device placed at the Asheville Airport.

According to an Asheville Police Department release, the object found curbside near the airport's baggage claim area was an 'explosive device.'

Police released this statement on Friday afternoon:

Asheville, NC (October 6, 2017): At approximately 6:30 a.m. the Asheville Police Department's Hazardous Device Team responded to reports of a suspicious package at the Asheville Regional Airport. The package was located by the Asheville Regional Airport Police Department. The explosive device was rendered safe by the Hazardous Device Team and removed from the Asheville Regional Airport.
We are requesting public assistance to locate a person of interest in this incident. The white male has been seen in multiple locations along Airport Road since Tuesday, October 3. We encourage anyone with information regarding the identity of this person of interest, or if anyone has seen a person matching this description, to please not approach him and immediately call 9-1-1.
The Asheville Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and the Asheville Regional Airport Police Department are working in coordination to conduct further investigation into this incident. No additional information is available at this time.
As always we encourage the public to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement.

News 13 currently has no details on what explosive materials the device contained.

According to police, a white man was seen in multiple locations along Airport Road since Tuesday, October 3. Anyone with information regarding the identity of this person of interest is encouraged to call the Asheville Police Department.

If anyone sees a person matching this description, police say do not approach him, and immediately call 9-1-1.

The Charlotte division of the FBI released this statement Friday morning:

The FBI responded to the Asheville Regional Airport on Friday, October 6, 2017, in reference to a suspicious device. Working alongside the Asheville Regional Airport Police Department, the Asheville Police Department, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, the item was rendered safe. Passengers were evacuated for a short period of time out of an abundance of caution, before the airport returned to full operation. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will collect evidence on the scene including surveillance video from the airport to identify the person or persons responsible for leaving the device and to determine motive. The investigation is ongoing and additional details will be released when appropriate.

Authorities with the Asheville Regional Airport say a suspicious package found curbside outside the baggage claim area Friday morning.

Tina Kinsey, a spokesperson with the Asheville Regional Airport, tells News 13 that the package was discovered Friday morning at around 7 a.m. A portion of the terminal was evacuated, Terminal Drive was shut down, and emergency response teams were called in.

Just after 8:30 a.m., crews secured the situation and reopened the area to travelers.

The Asheville Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and the Asheville Regional Airport Police Department are working in coordination to further investigate this incident.



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